PargoNet

Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Banning schmanning – when will we learn? April 27, 2007

So I read today on MSNBC.com about a school district banning i-pods from the schools, fearing that students are using the devices to cheat on tests. Apparently students are hiding cheat sheets among the lyrics files and even going as far as recording info and playing it back as they take the test.

Here’s my take on this: I am impressed and amazed at the creative ways students will come up with in order to have access to information and I have to ask the question – WHY AREN’T WE FINDING A WAY TO HARNESS THIS CREATIVITY AND DESIRE TO ACCESS INFORMATION BY STUDENTS RATHER THAN STIFLING IT????

I would argue that rather than banning the devices, schools develop an ethical policy regarding access to information in the 21st century, and EDUCATE students about it. When students were creating paper and pencil cheat-sheets, we did not ban these items from the schools – we simply instructed the students to put all of the materials away until after the test and that their use during the test would consitute cheating. Why aren’t we having these direct conversations with students about electronic devices?

Another arguement could be madeĀ against the outdated mode of testing most of our students endure in which students are not allowed to access information resources during an assessment in favor of one that allows students to access information to enrich the assessment. In my position, it is more important to know HOW to find out the answers to questions – why aren’t we assessing students on this skill?

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2 Responses to “Banning schmanning – when will we learn?”

  1. wrobinson1 Says:

    I think you have a point about how we are educating the students. The problem is one has to also educate the teachers. Most teachers do not realize the possibilities to cheat in this method and many are still using teaching methodologies that make cheating easy. If you are testing simple knowledge repetition , then you are not challenging the student. If you bump up the quality of the test to apply concepts using analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, then cheating will become much more difficult. I suggest finding testing methods that go outside the box restricting what a student can use to cheat such as reflective essays, real life applications, reflections, etc. Remember,in life, no job asks you to perform by memory alone. You may access any information you need. Why shouldn’t we teach and evaluate our students that same way?

    BTW Tracy, tell Glenn hi for me! Funny how a simple tag search will connect you with an old friend!

    Rob Robinson

  2. tweeks Says:

    Hey there!!! Rob, you make some excellent points and I could not agree more – I think this a both AND solution.


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